Jean-Marie Simon, 63, an attorney and private school teacher from Washington, DC, is livid. She was flying from Guatemala her home in Washington DC. When she went to board the United Airlines plane, she was told she had cancelled the last leg of her flight. That makes no sense at all. Why would you cancel only the last leg of your flight home? As it turned out, she had an app on her phone for booking flights. That device showed that she had never cancelled. When she got on the plane, she saw Sheila Jackson Lee sitting down in her seat. A stewardess handed her a $500 voucher and a ticket for a seat in economy plus class.
The D.C. teacher claimed that the airline bumped her from her seat to accommodate the congresswoman.
“It was just so completely humiliating,” said Simon, who spent 140,000 miles to purchase the round-trip first-class tickets between D.C. and Guatemala.
United Airlines, however, refuted Simon’s claim.
“After thoroughly examining our electronic records, we found that upon receiving a notification that Flight 788 was delayed due to weather, the customer appears to have canceled her flight from Houston to Washington, DC, within the United mobile app,” United said in a statement.
Simon said she saved screenshots from her United app to prove that she only had one “inactive” reservation that was canceled due to Hurricane Harvey.
Simon was a frequent flyer on United and used 140,000 miles to purchase the round trip first class seat. She felt that United had bumped her in favor of the congresswoman. What she doesn’t know is whether Lee had browbeat the airline using her position as a member of congress. Lee was named as a boss from hhell in 2011. More on that later. A male member of congress was seated nearby and he apologized to Simon, saying that Lee bumps people all of the time. It isn’t certain but from the picture she posted, it looks like the congressman could be Mike Conoway.
The airline’s resolution manager called Simon to try to smooth things over but Simon never received a formal written apology from United, who has a reputation for being one of the worst airlines when it comes to customer service.
And what did Sheila Jackson Lee have to say about Simon? She played the race card naturally:
“I asked for nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary and received nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary. Since this was not any fault of mine, the way the individual continued to act appeared to be, upon reflection, because I was an African American woman, seemingly an easy target along with the African American flight attendant who was very, very nice.”
Now, to explain why I said that Sheila Jackson Lee might have had a meltdown with the airline over not having a first class seat for her. In an article on The Daily Caller from 03/02/2011, it describes the shoddy treatment Lee uses against her own staff.
According to the article it was standard operating procedure for Lee to use foul language in cursing out her staff every time things didn’t break her way. That includes one staffer, whose proud parents traveled to Washington DC to see their girl working in a congressional office. Lee cursed the staffer out right there in front of her parents.
Jackson Lee “would always say, ‘What am I a prostitute? Am I your prostitute? You can’t prostitute me.’”
Capitol Hill is famous for its demanding, insensitive bosses. Yet even by the harsh standards of Congress, Sheila Jackson Lee stands out. She may be the worst boss in Washington. “It’s like being an Iraq War veteran,” says someone who worked for her. Strangers may say, “‘oh I know what you’ve been through.’ No, you really don’t. Because until you’ve experienced it…. People don’t tell the worst of the stories, because they’re really unbelievable.”
For some, a job in Jackson Lee’s office proved not just emotionally but physically perilous. One staffer recalls a frank conversation with his doctor, who told him he needed to quit. “It’s your life or your job,” the doctor told him, warning that the stress and long hours were wreaking havoc on his body.
By all accounts she would constantly threaten staffers with firing. Being fired from Lee’s staff would be like being evicted from hell.
By now, you should be able to see why I believe it was Lee’s brow beating that led to Simon losing her seat. Working in a congressional office is a fantastic resume enhancer but you really have to wonder if it’s worth it to work with Lee, who could give the antichrist a run for his money.